Two breweries, Dad & Dave’s and Quakers Hat Brewing, are opening taprooms in Northern NSW this year.
The two will join Bucketty’s Brewery which announced this month that it would also be adding to the growing lineup in the Northern Beaches suburb of Brookvale.
This will bring the number of breweries in the area to six, including 7th Day Brewery, Nomads and 4 Pines.
Dad & Dave’s sets up in Brookvale
Dad & Dave’s Brewing co-founder David Dumay said the brewery has grown considerably since its launch in 2015.
“We did a big upgrade to the brewery last year, we switched over from being gypsy brewers through Tribe, and brought production in-house, got our own canning line and did some big investment into the brewery,” Dumay said.
“We’ve been looking for a larger space, which we’ve just found in Brookvale, so we’re just going through council and DA and stuff now.”
The proposed brewery and taproom could fit 100 people, he said, but while the team are waiting for their applications and licences to go through, they have not been resting on their laurels.
“In the meantime we’ve closed our original taproom and opened up a little restaurant in Manly, Dad & Dave’s Burgers & Beers. Late last year we released our first line of gin under a different brand name too, Wildspirit Distilling.”
The team wanted a bigger site so they could have both their distillery and brewery in one place.
“We decided to purchase our own canning line and put in a few more tanks and now we’re completely out of space,” explained Dumay.
“We’re going to have a bit of extra room for some upgrades down the track. We will have more space for tanks to add on, and hopefully double capacity from our 10hL capacity brewhouse at the moment.”
As with many brewery developments, it hasn’t all been plain sailing.
“Nothing has gone to plan! As soon as we make a plan, something changes. It’s a forever-evolving business, that’s the benefit of it in the situation at the moment we’re able to quickly adapt to changes in the market and everything.”
With the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic being felt in the hospitality industry, Dumay said it has been a challenging time.
“It’s particularly scary at the moment around Brookvale. We’re close to the Oval and for a lot of the taprooms, the drawcard through winter is those games, bringing in the people going to those games. Now they’ve shut down, you won’t have those people coming through any more which is a bummer.”
Despite this, Dad & Dave’s is still on-track with their plans.
“The plan is still to get open as quickly as possible, we’ve had word from council that they want to try to push through stuff for small business quicker than previous years, and we’re hoping to be approved and start fit out as early as the start of next month.
“The big worry for us is we’re still busy with the beer stuff and the spirits that we’re selling, and now starting up the hard sparkling waters, how do we shut down production to move everything across?”
In this respect, the pandemic could be a blessing in disguise for the business, as they will still be able to supply a lower level of beer while they move the kit to its new home.
However despite the difficult times ahead, Dumay said he and the team at Dad & Dave’s were optimistic.
He said that the Brookvale area was growing, and having more breweries in the area could be a great thing.
“I’m more than happy about the competition, there are plenty of breweries in Marrickville for instance, everyone has a space and they’re all busy. It will only be good for us and bring more people into the area,” said Dumay.
“It’s always been a hard thing to convince people to come up our way, so the more of us the better, it gives people an incentive to make the day trip over spend some time up North.
“I’d love to see more distilleries and small producers in there as it will revitalise the old industrial area that is Brookvale.”
All going well, Dad & Dave’s Brookvale taproom should be open for the end of 2020.
Quakers Hat Brewing
Quakers Hat Brewing is another new addition to Brookvale.
Quakers Hat was founded by the Robinson family, including Dave (sales), Cam (brewing) Nick (website and taproom) and Sue (social media). The family started out homebrewing at their home in Quakers Hat Bay before moving to their next site, a small batch, boutique brewery in Manly Vale at the back of a wood furnishings store.
The new taproom in Brookvale is the next step in their evolution.
Cam Robinson said the brewery was a passion project, sparked by his desire to leave the removals industry.
“I ran a removals business before this for about five years, I didn’t really enjoy it to be honest, but I made money. As I was coming to the end of that, Davo actually mentioned about starting a brewery, saying it was something he’d be interested in. I started doing a lot of homebrewing then.”
The family started homebrewing together, but Cam got serious and went to learn the ropes of beer making through an official course.
“That’s where I’ve got a lot of my brewing background, just small batches at home. Then I went on to do a commercial brewing course at TAFE last year,” he said.
“I learnt a lot there and it was all in the lead up to doing this brewery here.
“It was a really good course, and there was a load of people from the industry there. I did work experience at different breweries, including at 7th Day Brewery.
“They have the same equipment as us. I’d already brewed on the equipment when I did our first brew on ours, so it was a good transition. We haven’t had any major disasters anyway!”
After completing his course, it was time to get their dream fully underway.
“It was two years ago when I was looking to get out of the removals business. It was a long process from talking about it to getting it up and going,” Cam said.
“We put DA in two months ago,” said Dave.
“There’s been no objections from anyone so far. Traffic have some concerns about parking but we’re waiting for them to give us all the council’s concerns so we can address them, rather than one at a time.”
Pending DA approval, the team will look to move their 10hL brewkit, sourced by Brewtique from Chinese manufacturers, into the new site in Brookvale.
“At the moment we’ve got 1,000-litre fermenters and will look at getting a few 2,000-litre tanks so we can double brew into them,” Cam explained.
Having been producing beers already, Quakers Hat is currently stocked in a number of venues, and the team has spent sometime developing its core range.
“We’ve got four beers that are our core range at the moment, a Kölsch, a Saison, a red rye IPA and a pale ale,” Cam said.
“They’re all available in kegs and cans. We’ve just done a collaboration brew with Little Alchemist Brewer, a Lemon Lime and bitter ale, launched two weeks ago at Harts pub.”
Quakers Hat beers are stocked in more than 20 venues including Middle Harbour Yacht Club, the Chippo Hotel in Chippendale, and the North Sydney Hotel, and the team are already juggling the supplier/competition relationship, but the Robinsons said they have a good relationship with their stockists.
“We’ve talked to most of them telling them we’re opening this taphouse and they’re happy for us.
“I have spoken to some venues that are concerned about breweries opening taphouses in their local areas, and how they’re basically taking business away from their venue but still expecting to sell them beer but we’ve not come across that issue.”
With so many breweries opening venues, standing out will be key for Quakers Hat.
“The beer will be the primary focus, that’s what we’re doing. We’re going to look at doing a few different kinds of food, predominantly pizza, and maybe some tapas as well.
“We’ll make sure the food is simple but nice, but the beer is our main interest. We’re still talking about what avenues we’ll go down and what the feel of it will be like.”
With five breweries in a one-kilometre radius, there is also plenty of opportunity to collaborate.
“Doing some brewery tours is definitely something we’ll look at. We know all of those people at the breweries so we’ll definitely talk to them about teaming up,” Cam said.
Quakers Hat Brewing is also set to open before the end of the year.